Premier League • England

Liverpool given greater Victor Osimhen transfer belief as worried Napoli try to reverse president’s claim

Victor Osimhen of Napoli controls the ball during the Serie A football match between SSC Napoli and Udinese

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen

Napoli have issued a statement trying to insist all is fine with star striker Victor Osimhen following claims by president Aurelio de Laurentiis that he may be sold and amid reports a club-record agreement has already been struck with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp will likely have issues to fix with his attack next summer amid claims Mohamed Salah will be allowed to leave in a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, after Al-Ittihad saw a £150m bid rejected by Liverpool in the summer, the Saudi Pro-League are ready to try again in 2024 – and this time it’s widely feared that the Merseysiders will have no choice but to accept with the Egyptian, by then, in the final  year of his contract.

Replacing Salah’s goals – he has an incredible 192 in 315 games for the Reds at the time of writing – will be one of Klopp’s most difficult transfer missions during his eight years in charge at the Anfield helm. However, rather than trying to replace the winger directly, Klopp is reportedly set to think outside the box by making a bold move to sign Napoli powerhouse Osimhen.

Liverpool have been tentatively linked with the Napoli striker this week, who would set the Merseysiders back a huge club-record fee. And those links gathered serious pace on Friday when it was claimed an agreement to sign Osimhen has already been struck by Liverpool.

That deal will seemingly set the Reds back a figure of around £100m-plus – but given Osimhen’s formidable record of 103 goals in just 201 club career games – it would certainly prove money well spent.

It would also come as a hefty blow for Chelsea, who also have designs on landing the Nigerian hitman themselves.

READ MOREChelsea exclusive: Explosive Osimhen transfer IS possible with Todd Boehly putting crazy package on table

Osimhen to Liverpool talk forces Napoli to retreat on De Laurentiis claims

It’s also the reason why the striker has seemingly gone back on his word of signing an extension to his Napoli deal. That current arrangement is due to expire in summer 2025, and Napoli did have belief that an agreement to that would soon be reached.

Unfortunately for them, he appears to have gone back on that plan, with Liverpool cited as the reason and with a worried De Laurentiis expressing his concerns.

“I have never been unhappy towards Osimhen, but there are always two of us in these things,” he said.

“I have remained the same, if his mood has changed [over a new deal] I can’t do anything about it.

“If things change after a handshake, it’s disappointing, we take note of it but then life goes on.

“There are excellent relations with him, the contract expires in 2025, there is time. Don’t forget that I sold [Kalidou] Koulibaly [to Chelsea] a year before his contract expired.”

That admission, however, has seemingly got Napoli chiefs worried and the club has now issued a statement to play down any tension between their president and star striker.

“President De Laurentiis never shared any negative comment about Victor,” Napoli said in a statement. “He just said that after verbally agreeing on plan to sign new deal, Osimhen changed his mind.

“We hope it’s just stand-by moment to think about it. In the next weeks we will discuss with his agent [Roberto] Calenda about the future.

“Reports of a tense situation between Napoli and Osimhen are 100% wide of the mark.”

However, it’s the first time in recent weeks that issues between Napoli and Osimhen have arisen with the club’s social media team recently appearing to poke fun at their own player after he missed a penalty.

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